On the first exposition of Belgian shepherds in Uccle in1892, a small long hair black dog called Petite won the first price. Petite would become the grand mother of all Groenendaels. The sir was called Picard d`Uccle and one of their offsprings was the infamous Duc de Groenendael – the first really prototype of the new breed. Duc had small triangle ears, the typical Belgian shepherd built and a big white spot on his chest!As all Belgain shepherds, This dog is a quick learner, but needs a firm hand. He will learn bad things as fast as good things and in the hands of an inexperienced trainer, the dog can become difficult to control and will dominate its owner.
He likes to work, he has a lot of temperament and he is considered to be the best guard in the house (no gun needed). He has an amazing physical condition that puts him ahead of most other working dogs.
Ideally he has an owner who is crazy about doing sports with him. Watching sports on TV is not enough. His favorite sports are agility and guarding or actually anything that takes a lot of energy!
Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Belgian Groenendael is a medium-sized and square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family. This black workdog has a long black coat with white spot on the chest. It has black erect ears and a black muzzle. It has a square build in comparison to the German shepherd.
The Belgian Groenendael is about 24–26 in (61–66 cm), while bitches are about 22–24 in (56–61 cm) at the withers. Bitches are said to average 25–30 kg (55–65 lb), while sires are heavier at 29–34 kg (65–75 lb).
All the Belgian Shepherds share the same physical qualities, but the Malinois is the outstanding working dog. There are however very good Groenendaels as well who can and will compete at the highest Ring or IPO level. More and more breeders focus these days on its qualities as a working dog, but most dogs are born out of a beauty focus.
And that brings us to your second consideration. Will you take a real working dog or a Groenendael that has been bred for beauty? Most Belgian Groenendael shepherds are nicer, calmer and more distinguished then their Malinois brothers. Just because of the focus on beauty rather then on working. I find that very disturbing but that is how it is. But as already said, you can still find excellent Working Groenendaels but you will have to look carefully and convince the breeder that you too want a working dog!
Well-raised and trained Groenendaels are usually very active, friendly, protective and hard working. Many have excessively high prey drive. Some may be excessively exuberant or playful, especially when young. They can be destructive or develop neurotic behaviors if not provided enough stimulation and exercise. These are large, strong dogs that require consistent obedience training, and Groenendaels enjoy being challenged with new tasks.